Although this isn’t supposed to be a Murali Vijay themed article, I have to mention how the Old Monk has returned. The three different formats of the game has three different requirements from the opening batsmen. Of the three, test cricket is more demanding. That’s why we see teams picking exclusive openers for test cricket. A test opener has to stay at the crease irrespective of whether he scores or not. Unlike T20 or ODI’s, test matches are not won in an over instead it involves small victories over sessions. Murali Vijay has a godlike patience that goes really well with his flamboyant attitude. To put things into perspective, Vijay has faced 794 balls over a time of 1115 minutes and scoring 317 runs. That’s about 18 and a half hours of extreme concentration and 132.2 overs of facing the bowlers of the home side. Vijay has faced 27.65% of the total balls faced by the Indian batting lineup in the two test matches played in this series till now. Having a steady person like Monk (pun intended) at the crease gives the selectors the ability to pick another opener who can go after the bowlers.
MSD came out of his comfort zone and deployed an aggressive strategy to counter attack the English. That is something that no one expected from him. MSD and Ishant Sharma pulled off a Ponting-Siddle. Very rarely in cricket, a captain formulates a strategy around one single bowler. The Bouncer Ploy is a simple yet effective strategy that no other Indian captain has ever thought off. MSD used the tallest bowler of his team effectively on a declining day 5 pitch and asked him to bowl bouncers till his shoulders fell off. Did it work? Somebody just try to make another Ishant Sharma joke again and you’ll know the answer. However, I’m still trying to understand why Binny was picked for a test series. He is neither a bowler nor a batsman and I’d rather go with Ashwin. For all those cribbing about Virat Kohli, remember that the prodigal son will return. And, when he returns we must celebrate because this player of ours was dead and will be alive again.
Now, all eyes are on the 3rd test which begins tomorrow. Here's to wishing Team India best of luck! We hope all of India can celebrate another test victory in England.